The funds will be raised through a convertible note issued by Brainspark. Gabbrielli Associati, an Italian, Milan-based financial advisor, will assist Brainspark in placing the notes. An initial allotment of Â£50,000 was issued, in the form of notes, on December 29th 2003. Cross Atlantic Capital Partners remains a major Brainspark shareholder.
The money will be used to complete the companyâs restructuring process, which has involved a significant change of management, the appointment of new financial advisors Beaumont Cornish Limited, and an ongoing process of cost-reduction that reduced cash burn rates to around one-third of their level last year.
"Our function as an investment company is to have a cycle in which we identify good businesses, assist them in growing and extract the value of our investment through an appropriate exit strategy,â says Francesco Gardin, chairman of Brainspark.
It was also announced today that John Campbell, professor of computer science at University College London, has joined Brainspark's investment committee. He is a specialist in artificial intelligence with particular interests in systems of autonomous agents, multilingual natural-language processing, and the use of physical and biological processes for computation. Says Gardin, "We are delighted to have John Campbell on board. His 20 years of experience in organising and managing European Union research and development projects and programmes in information technology will be an invaluable addition to the Brainspark management team. He will be a great asset in identifying and understanding emerging IT technologies and helping the investment committee to focus on the best business opportunities."
Gardin says that much of the last year has been taken up with the reorganisation of the company, including decoupling it from AI Software, which owned 75% of Brainspark and of which Gardin is currently Chairman. The two companies are now completely separate entities. The reorganisation was further complicated by the need to renegotiate a 15-year property lease in London that has also now been completed.
The company is entering into discussions with several financial institutions regarding the flotation of a number of companies in its portfolio, which currently consists of 12 information and communication technology companies in a variety of sectors, including advanced 3D computer modelling, digital radio broadcasting, supply chain management, and dental and healthcare.
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